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Volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church in Blackduck prepare to serve hungry diners during the monthly free community meal. The meal at the Presbyterian Church is served the third Monday of each month and the meal at the Blackduck Evangelical Free Church is served the second Monday of each month.

Churches give back to community

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The First Presbyterian Church and Evangelical Free Church of Blackduck have each decided to give back to the community by providing a free monthly dinner.

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Both churches have a common goal in mind: to offer a meal to anyone in the community.

"Our objective is to put out a warm meal and create an opportunity for good food, good fellowship and to better utilize our new church," Dwight Kalvig of the First Presbyterian said.

"We got the idea from the Presbyterian Church, who began doing this back in November," Pastor Dwight Warden of the Evangelical Free Church explained. "Because this month was our first time doing this, we wanted to present a dinner to people who could use a night out, people who are looking for companionship, people who don't feel like cooking, empty nesters, families, really anyone. We found that a number of people just come out because they enjoy being with each other."

Both churches are anxious to provide these monthly meals and to show their appreciation for the members of this community.

"We are putting this on for the benefit of the community," Warden said. "We don't have any offerings, we don't have a program, this is a come when you can, leave when you have to opportunity. We are looking to provide a service to people."

When Warden contacted Kalvig inquiring if offense would be taken if their idea was mimiced, Warden was told the Presbyterians started this idea with the hope that other groups would adopt the same or similar idea.

"They were more than happy that we wanted to do it," Warden said. "I salute them for coming up with the idea."

The First Presbyterian Church has smaller groups within the congregation who are going to work on rotation to take over cooking and serving each meal. In the Evangelical Free Church, several members volunteered to cook and serve the meals.

Warden was pleased with the turnout of their first meal earlier this month.

"I would say two-thirds of the people who came were not members of our church and that was nice to see," he said. "This shows that this meal really is for anyone who would like to come."

Both pastors feel the idea has been well received.

"We just thought there would be a need like this in a community during tougher times," Kalvig said. "This is a way for the church to reach out and to provide. It has been very well received."

The Evangelical Free Church will serve their meal the second Monday of each month and the First Presbyterian Church will offer theirs on the third Monday of each month. Anyone and everyone are welcome to attend.

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